Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Binge eating is similar to bulimia, another eating disorder. However, people with binge-eating disorder don't purge themselves of the extra calories they consume. That's why many people with binge-eating disorder are often overweight.

To diagnose an eating disorder, your doctor may recommend:

  • A physical exam
  • Blood and urine tests
  • A psychological evaluation, including discussion of your eating habits

Your doctor may want you to have other tests to check for health consequences of binge-eating disorder, such as heart problems or gallbladder disease.

Criteria for diagnosis

Your doctor will determine if you meet the criteria for an eating disorder. To be diagnosed with binge-eating disorder, you must meet these criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association:

  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating, including eating an abnormally large amount of food and feeling a lack of control over eating
  • Binge eating that's associated with at least three of these factors: eating rapidly; eating until you're uncomfortably full; eating large amounts when you're not hungry; eating alone out of embarrassment; or feeling disgusted, depressed or guilty after eating
  • Concern about your binge eating
  • Binge eating at least twice a week for at least six months
  • Binge eating that's not associated with purging, such as self-induced vomiting
Apr. 03, 2012